With a range of six pre-deployment trial sites and two cross-border corridors, ERTICO-coordinated project 5G-MOBIX develops and tests automated vehicle functionalities using 5G innovations. Oscar Castañeda Aguadero, Senior Consultant at ERTICO Partner DEKRA, presents the preliminary results related to the measurements performed on the Spain-Portugal cross-border corridor.

Covering the complete value chain, including car manufactures, telecom companies, public administrations and research institutions, the Spain-Portugal cross-border corridor, which connects the cities of Vigo and Porto in a local connected car test track, is of high importance for the 5G-MOBIX’ deployment of autonomous driving in Europe.

Why are these measurements important for the advancement of the project and why are the results significant?

The measurements are important because they show the performance of the 5G network on the Spanish side after the initial installation of the 5G network. During the measurements, some minor performance issues that could affect the execution of the Spanish-Portuguese corridor use cases were detected, but they have now been solved. These measurements focused on obtaining the estimations of the throughput provided by the network. This information is needed to configure properly some applications to be demonstrated in the corridor. An example is the remote driving use case, where the remote driver uses the video signal sent by the vehicle to remotely manoeuvre it. The quality of the video signal and the number of video cameras streaming signal need to be established based on the available bandwidth provided by the network. As the network is a 5G NSA deployment, the user data traffic may use both 4G and 5G data connections simultaneously. Data was sent in DL direction (downlink, from network to UE) and in UL (uplink, from UE to the network), both in the cross-border area and in other places where 5G coverage was available. To perform the measurements, DEKRA tool measurement agents were installed in a server in the cloud and in the UEs, allowing to obtain the following measurements and KPIs:

  • IP layer throughput, which measures the maximum download or upload speed of the network connection in bits per second, obtaining up to 450 Mbps in TCP DL and up to 25 Mbps in TCP UL;
  • Reliability, which is the measured percentage of data packets successfully delivered during the communication;
  • Latency, hence, the One Way Delay, defined as the time taken for a packet to be transmitted from source to destination, for which DEKRA obtained values in the order of 20 ms in 5G and 25 ms in 4G ;
  • Jitter (IP packet delay variation), with all measurements recorded below 3 ms.;
  • Other parameters, such as base stations, cells and sectors identifiers, frequencies of operation and base station locations, were recorded.
  • The relevant signalling messages exchanged between the UE and the network were recorded to when network attach, reconfigurations, handovers as well as other relevant events took place and their duration.

Performing these measurements at the early stages of 5G deployment is essential to prepare, optimise and calibrate our measurement methodology and tools. As early findings we have identified that simple quantitative measurements as throughput are not enough to understand the underlying complexity of the technology and the impact of configurations and network deployments on the performance of the network. Capturing network parameters in parallel is essential to identify the cause of low throughputs and the high packet loss or jitter, which can have dramatic influence on the performance and reliability of the use case.”

Can we expect any upcoming tests on this corridor?

New measurement campaigns are expected to take place before the end of year, following new network optimisations on the Spanish side and deployment on the Portuguese side. Once the networks and the connectivity between these two countries is stable, extensive measurements will take place to ensure the reliability of measurements and reported KPIs. Furthermore, the specific results of the project will be exploited by different stakeholders. Public administrations will use the standards and recommendations for future public tenders on ITS at country level, while the industrial companies will look for deployment of the applications while generating new business models around 5G in CCAM. This cross-border corridor will explore the challenges of seamless interoperation among different countries and between different type of public and private carriers.